Estate Planning With Digital Assets
Where, apart from the filing cabinet, do you store most of the important information? Probably on your computer and in various online accounts. And what happens to this information when you die? Your next of kin can spend months seeking the consent of an online service provider to gain access and permission to manage and close these accounts. If your survivors don’t have access to your email accounts, they may not even know that certain financial accounts exist if you sign up for paperless reports, i.e. monthly reports sent by email.
The fact is that digital media has not just become a tool. For many of us, digital media has become a necessity that affects our finances, our ratings, our communications and our daily social lives. The problem with diet planning is that these resources have doors that we have to go through to access this important information.
As more and more information is transferred from paper media to computers, there is a growing need to plan for the proper management of our digital assets. The keys to unlocking these assets include usernames and account passwords, as well as a roadmap to locate digital assets. Without this information, your executor or guardian is unlikely to have timely access to your email accounts, online financial accounts, as well as to online retailers and service providers who have credit card details. In addition, it is not possible to recover assets such as digital photos, Facebook pages, and other information stored on the Internet or on your computer.
How do you plan who should have access and who can view your important documents and accounts online? Just like you do today with ordinary assets: determine what you own; Choose someone who can manage these assets if you lose your ability or die, and ideally provide instructions on what to look for and where to look.
Identify your digital assets. Start with a list of your hardware, including computers, backup hard drives, and any USB drives or CDs used to store important information that needs to be tagged.
You want to provide your online accounts, such as bank accounts and securities accounts, as well as personal accounts, including email addresses and social media pages. For all of these online accounts, you must maintain a permanent list of usernames, passwords, and other information you need to log in. While security experts caution against recording this information, the reality is that your immediate family will need this information in the event of incapacitation or death. In addition to recording, you should also store this information in a safe but accessible location, in other words, not in a file on your computer if your computer requires a password when logging in.
Choose an agent for digital assets. Then identify who is the right person to access and view all your important information online. If you’ve created a clear roadmap for your digital assets and where they can be found, a digital asset specialist doesn’t need to be well versed in computers, and he can probably be your attorney, executor or real estate agent. If you choose someone who is not in these roles, you must allow them to act during your disability and after your death. Therefore, in accordance with your power of attorney, executor or trustee, your agent should have the right to hire a digital agent and, if necessary, to attract additional professional assistance.
Follow a series of instructions. A small set of instructions can make a big difference to the implementation of this whole plan. If possible, provide additional information that brings everything together, always taking into account what exists and where it is located. You can also ask your digital assets agent to notify certain members of your online community of your death, such as email acquaintances and possibly others you regularly communicate with via email or social media.